The UFC held a conference call Tuesday ahead of next week’s UFC on FOX 7: Henderson vs. Melendez, and while headliners Benson Henderson and Gilbert Melendez discussed their upcoming bout, UFC president Dana White was also on the call and touched on a number of topics.
Most notably, White was asked about the comments made Monday night by UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione regarding transgendered fighter Fallon Fox, which led to him being suspended by the organization.
On an appearance on The MMA Hour on Monday, Mitrione said Fox, who has fought twice professionally but has only since revealed that she had undergone sex reassignment surgery after being born as a male, was a “lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak” and should not be competing against women.
White didn’t specifically address what Mitrione said, but instead simply said he should have just stayed away from the camera and enjoyed his victory in Sweden 48 hours earlier.
“It’s one of those things that is just a pain in the ass,” White said. “First of all, he didn’t need to be doing an interview. And I’m going to talk to these guys. The only time these guys really need to be doing interviews is leading up to fights.”
White added that it has killed what should have been a time of celebration for Mitrione, who earned a 19-second knockout over Phil De Fries.
“It ended up being a nightmare for him,” White said. “What was the point of the interview? It has caused a bunch of headaches for him and for us, and for no reason. What was the upside to doing that interview? There was none.”
More from White:
— On the subject of the recent decision by the International Olympic Committee to remove wrestling from its slate of core sports, White said he had a meeting with USA wrestling last week and that the UFC is “joining the fight” to save Olympic wrestling.
— On welterweight Dan Hardy, who had to pull out of a bout on the UFC on FOX 7 card in San Jose because of a pre-fight medical exam that revealed a rare heart disorder, White said he and co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta called him last week and they plan to do what they can to get him cleared to fight again. “He has some personal stuff with his family, but we’re going to set him up with the best heart doctor in Los Angeles to get a second opinion and get him checked out,” White said.
— On Hardy’s replacement, Jordan Mein of Lethbridge, Alta., who will now take on Matt Brown following his knockout of Dan Miller in his Octagon debut at last month’s UFC 158 in Montreal: “We were very impressed by his performance. We put him in (on short notice) because we were blown away by this kid. It’s going to be a good fight.”
— On the fighters from Strikeforce, who have been doing well since joining the UFC and will be particularly on display in San Jose, with many making their promotional debuts, including Melendez, Daniel Cormier and Josh Thomson on the main card: “They were sitting on the shelf for a long time. They weren’t making money, they weren’t getting fights. It was frustrating for me. Imagine what it was like for them.”
— On when fans will see more international editions of The Ultimate Fighter, including a Canadian one, the UFC’s boss said sometimes things take longer than expected. “We should have had TUF Canada a while ago, but we’re still working on that,” said White, who added that they’re currently also looking at China, India, and Russia.
— White said the UFC’s return to Boston in August for its first event on the soon-to-launch Fox Sports 1 channel will be a big deal, but no fights or other details have been set yet. “It’s still early. There are a lot of fights that are going to happen before we put that together. But that day that the Red Sox and Yankees are playing and we’re going to do some huge stuff.”